Tips for measuring and improving employee engagement

Rich Hein

improve employee engagement

Full-time employees spend a large part of their day and the majority of their lives in the workplace, and how they feel about their work is important to them. In a recent Gallup survey, 63 percent of American workers are not engaged in their work, while another 24 percent are "actively disengaged." Disengaged workers are more likely to look for other opportunities, or worse, drag down the productivity of the rest of your team. Gallup estimates that the cost of disengaged workers lies somewhere between $450-$550 billion each year in lost productivity.

Running a tech business or an IT department requires a delicate balance. Stakeholders have expectations, employees have needs, and of course, customers have their own set of requirements. Effective leaders and entrepreneurs understand that employee engagement can be a competitive edge and that building an engagement strategy should be a top priority.

Why Should Employers Measure It?

Finding great developers, project managers and other technical roles is a difficult task and keeping these top performers is even harder. People don't want to work in a place where they don't have a voice or work for a company that seems to let the good people go while holding onto those that do the bare minimum. In short, top people want to feel their opinions and hard work are valued.

On the other hand, companies that do the work to build a positive culture will reap the benefits and increasing employee engagement is a big part of that. Employee engagement, according to experts, drives all the good things an organization needs to thrive - better customer outcomes, better employee retention and increased productivity. "Employee engagement is important because a well-engaged employee means the difference between just showing up or excelling at what they do. With today's increased competition for top-notch talent, and the huge costs to retrain new staff, engagement becomes more important than ever. When engagement is low things can get off track really quick and it can spread like practices are usually the process that falls apart when engagement is low, though best practices are what produce ideal outcomes," says Gabe Zichermann, CEO & Co-Founder of Dopamine and author of The Gamification Revolution.

"Publicly traded organizations that achieve top decile in our employee engagement database outperform their competition on earning per share by 147%, "says Jim Harter, PhD. and Chief Scientist with the Gallup Organization.

Let's face it, if you can't measure it you can't manage it, and if you can't manage it then how can you improve it? The time has come for organizations to start giving engagement the focus it deserves. We measure KPIs for business data and we're getting better at that, now we have to start using an analytical process to find out what motivates and helps retain your employees.

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